April 20, 2024
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by: Stephanie Langston
Tom Allen, Marina’s co-owner recounts how the sudden turn of events occurred as the employees were cleaning up the aftermath.

Tom went on to say, “I was shocked by a huge explosion and boom. I then turned my head 180 degrees, where I saw the largest flameball that I had ever seen.”

Sunset Marina and its office are destroyed in a fire on Dale Hollow Lake. This place is very important to many people.

A houseboat struck the fuel dock, creating a fireball that reached 50 feet up the roof.

Were it not for the fact that our store and restaurant were so crowded, I would have expected deaths and bodies floating in the sea. Allen said, “It’s an amazing miracle that no one got killed.”

Brad Richardson, who was being taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation, suffered from second-degree burning.

It was a blaze when I first arrived but the man had already put it out. The man had extinguished the flames by rolling onto the deck. He was also able to use his wits and go and turn off the emergency stop button, which had shut the fuel off before the blast. Allen says that without the safety valve, “the fire, explosion and deaths probably would have been far worse.”

Allen said that despite admitting it made him emotionally upset, the catastrophe had humbled his spirit.

Brad’s burns are pretty bad, but his spirits are high and he is eager to return to work. He will return to work. He has been part of our family for almost 30 years. Allen’s voice was breaking as he spoke.

Allen and Richardson, whose business has been largely reduced to ashes by the fires of Wednesday’s storms, are counting blessings.

God watched over all of us. I was amazed at how quickly they managed to extinguish the fire. It is also amazing that no-one was injured. Allen praised the community firefighters for making a goal-line stop at the 50 yard mark in spite of the fire.

He added that the team is working hard to restore the power in the restaurant and begin the fuel operation. This was possible because of the bravery displayed by firefighters. Next week, the decision about whether to reopen the restaurant or not will be made.

Continued prayer is the thing that I believe we most need at this time. God will watch over us. Allen told me that your prayers were greatly appreciated. For now, all we need are prayers to help us get through these days and weeks before we develop an official plan for reconstruction. It’s been a good experience.”

Richardson was assisted by a GoFundMe customer. Allen said the generosity from the community had been overwhelming.

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